Discussion: Who are Book Reviews For?

Rebecca Vance:

This is a great topic from a wonderful reviewer! I am interested in your comments too. What is your view on reviews, both as a reader and a writer? Also, sorry for the long time since my last posting! Stay tuned, very soon I will be posting the spotlight interview and review of Linda Rawlins–winner of Contest #2!! :)

Originally posted on The Mad Reviewer:

One night as I travelled down the terrible depths of YouTube I came across several videos of authors ranting about reviewers and book reviews in general.  Later that same week I was given a link by a reader to a particularly incoherent rant that I won’t link to.  All of this vitriol and empty rhetoric really made me thing, though: who are book reviews for?

Well, my opinion is pretty simple:

1.  Book reviews are primarily for my own enjoyment because I like analyzing books but in general book reviews are targeted at readers.

2.  This is not to say that authors, publishers and/or editors can’t benefit from book reviews, but that those benefits aren’t intentional.

If you’re an author and expect an unpaid volunteer book reviewer like myself to write a 2000+ critique of your novel, you’re insane.  Hire yourself an editor if you need a critique that detailed. …

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marsbow_pacholka When I had a contest a few months ago, as a way of thanking my Facebook fans for reaching 500 likes on my author page, it was such a success, that I promised another contest upon reaching 1,000 likes. Well, I have surpassed that now, so here it is, the start of another contest! I am taking entries of those interested in being in the contest.

As many of you know, my queue for requests has been saturated for quite some time, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I have been, and continue to be, closed for any new requests. That is the reason for the contest. I will have a drawing in the near future, (the date of the drawing will be announced later), and one random author will be featured here on my blog, in a spotlight interview and his/her book will be reviewed. All of my reviews are also posted on Amazon and Goodreads as well as on my Facebook page. I also tweet all of my reviews on Twitter.

To enter, go to the top of the page to the header. There you will find the page: Review Submission Requests & Information. Click on that and it will take you to the contest rules and qualifications and explain how to enter.

That’s it! Click on over there and if you want to enter, please do! It will be so much fun! Who knows? YOU may be the winner. :)

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Guest Post: You Can’t Polish A Turd


I am excited to have Nikolas Baron from Grammarly here as my very first guest post! Grammarly is an automated online proofreader that helps over 3 million users perfect their written English. Due to the immense volume of material that they proofread daily, Nicolas has incredible insight as to how people are writing and the mistakes being made. Since this blog is dedicated to the aspiring and debut author, he has agreed to share some of that insight here today. Take it away, Nikolas!

You Can’t Polish a Turd
If you’ve ever watched the British film, “The History Boys,” you probably remember the expression, “You can’t polish a turd”. The connotation is pretty clear; it doesn’t matter how hard you polish a turd, a turd will always be a turd. That is perhaps the harshest comment, and one of the last I ever want to hear in reference to my writing.
The end goal for many of us writers probably pretty much centers around the same things: write an amazing book, get published by a huge company, top the bestseller charts everywhere, receive extravagant royalties, and get rich and famous. But many of us are stumped right at the first step – write an amazing book. Now how in the world are we supposed to string together a whole lot of incredible words to form this miraculous mass of a book?
In this article, I’ll be tackling a few points you will need for a great product.
I’m not saying this to sound all cliché, but this point is often overlooked simply because it is assumed. Passion. You have to absolutely love it. Love writing, love books, love it; the feeling has to be so strong that majority of the days, you jump out of bed because in some strange realm, your characters, your chapters, and your story are calling out to you. Many people presume that just because they’ve got some opinions and the caliber to write, it automatically gives them the super ability to go through from writing to publishing an entire book. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but writing a book is like giving birth; even worse, since most of the time it takes more than 9 months. This passion is what will motivate you, even through the worst days, to put in your best efforts in writing and marketing your book.
Consistent writing. Set aside time every day to exercise your writing muscles. You wouldn’t believe how this small effort to allow your brain to think in words can translate into drastic improvements with your writing. Think of it as quality time between you and your cerebral cortex. Of course there will be some days the ideas just don’t seem to stick, and you’ll feel like you’ve gone entirely bonkers. But in the words of Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland, “all the best people are”. If any inkling of an idea does come, at least you’ll be there ready to put it down. Writing only gets easier with practice.
Scrivener to keep your mental notes, complicated plots and detailed scene notes in order. Unless you’ve got the incredible memory of a dolphin, chances are you won’t remember the detailed nitty-gritties of your entire story plot. If you’re writing something long and complicated with loads of references, Scrivener will fast become your best friend. Keep your fragmented ideas, character sheets, references or quick ideas all in one place. Scrivener creates that structured order from complete chaos. The corkboard view is particularly impressive and useful, firstly to organize the flow of your writing and secondly, to show off your writing inclinations to any unaware wondering eyes.
For the secrets to perfect grammar, many writers employ the help of proofreading software. It is very difficult to reach exact precision when it comes to writing; even after it has gone through tons of editing, books still get published with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. Grammarly is climbing the ladders and making its way onto the bookmarks list of many authors. This intuitive online program grammar-checks your entire document, from technical to structural errors, without missing a beat. Detailed explanations are given to remind you of certain language annoyances. With one click, you’ll be able to correct every little error in your manuscript. It works like a charm.
These are some tools I use to ensure that my writing isn’t labeled a turd by any measure – perhaps my biggest fear. My parting words: always write about things close to your heart otherwise it’ll definitely reflect on your writing and no number of tools will be able to dig you out of your hole.
By Nikolas Baron

I would like to thank Nikolas for being here today. If you would like to contact Nicolas, he can be reached:


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ipancake
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nikbaron

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Please Help a Fellow Author Who Has Suffered a Serious Stroke

Please help wherever possible. Thank you! My thoughts and prayers go out to Rags and his family.


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New Review: Recognition

Welcome to the first review for 2014! Recognition is a British mystery story, by author and former probation officer, Kate Vane. I was provided with a free digital copy by the author for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion.

STORY OVERVIEW: Nat Keene was a family liaison officer with the police department when she encountered her first murder. The victim was Sandie Thurston, a young mother. Her five year old daughter, Amy was discovered in bed with Sandie’s mutilated body, covered in her blood. Nat got very close to the family, in fact, a little too close. When a man was convicted of Sandie’s murder, Nat left, feeling broken and lost. Now it is 10 years later. Nat is now a trauma victim counselor. She now has a love partner, Dylan and life is different. Then she is asked to counsel Sandie’s Thurston’s husband, Martin and his now teenage daughter, Amy. She again becomes embroiled in their family secrets and begins to wonder if the man convicted of Sandie’s murder really did it. Dylan is involved in a case of his own that threatens to connect with hers.

The story is interesting with a few twists and surprises, and although I would have liked to have seen more development in Dylan, the overall characterization was well done. The language and dialogue were believable, as were the setting and theme. I noticed no errors in grammar and punctuation. The main problem for me was the pacing. It would be intriguing and then the author stops the action with too much exposition. This is information that the reader may need to know, but it was done in such a way as to stop the action to let us know. This throws me out of the story as a reader. I would prefer to get that information in dialogue as the story progresses. This was a cozy mystery, so the pace is meant to be on the slow side, but not by clumps of information dumps. Another problem was with Dylan. The story made the inference that the two stories would be connected, but they never were, and the disconnect also distracted from the overall story.

I would be willing to give this author another try. I think she has much promise, but this one was not riveting and I must remain neutral, by neither recommending nor discouraging it to others. Be your own judge. I give Recognition:

:) :) :)

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 60 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Top 18 Book Launch Tips

Rebecca Vance:

Great tips for a successful book launch, whether it’s your first or 50th!! Check them out! A big thank you to Savvy Writers and e-Books Online! A great blog with lots of great advice! :)

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:


A great reason to celebrate the launch of your new book, which might have taken months or years to write, is a book launch party, actual or maybe even virtual. You will want to thank everyone who helped with the creation of your book and introduce your latest work to your adoring readers. With today’s digital printing techniques it is possible to have a couple of print books to sign at your event – even if your book is officially offered only as an e-book.

Plan Your Event at Least Two Months Ahead
The date can be well after the book hit the shelves or the Amazon sales pages. Important is that you invite as much people as possible (they won’t all come! Don’t worry) and that you get as much buzz as possible from book bloggers, from your Social Media followers, local book clubs and hopefully the…

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